Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

Credit WVXU-FM

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his political blog, his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with news director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 14 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time. 

aftax sales tax petition
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Hamilton County Republicans who mounted a petition drive to put an issue on the November ballot repealing a .02 percent increase in the sales tax marched into the county auditor's office with a tall stack of about 37,800 signatures Wednesday afternoon.

rich cordray jeopardy
Jeopardy! / YouTube

Let's play a little bit of the game show Jeopardy! today.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke Monday with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik about Ohio's lame duck governor, John Kasich, and his role as the Republican most critical of President Trump. Hardly a week goes by where Kasich doesn't appear on Sunday news talk shows to lambast Trump's policies. 

Nam Y. Huh / AP

The world—and I do mean, the world, just about all of it—knows one Jerry Springer.

In Cincinnati, we know another. 

donald trump jim renacci
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Here's what you have to do sometimes when you are covering politics.

You have to drag yourself to some boring old parlor at a downtown hotel early on a Tuesday morning so you can witness a politician – in this case, GOP Senate candidate Jim Renacci – sign his name to two big pieces of cardboard.

jim renacci cincinnati
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci held a press conference and mini-rally of supporters at a downtown Cincinnati hotel Tuesday morning where he tried a ploy that was used against his Democrat incumbent Sherrod Brown six years ago.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik about the Ohio governor's race between Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine and how close a race it is likely to be - despite DeWine's money advantage. 

donald trump cincinnati
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Donald Trump, both as candidate and president, has made a habit of blaming everything that is wrong in this country on the news media, calling them "dishonest" and "corrupt" and even the enemy of the people.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

A recent poll shows Republican Mike DeWine leading Democrat Richard Cordray by four points in the Ohio governor's race. But things don't look as good for the GOP in Ohio's U.S. Senate contest. The multi-million dollar scandal involving the charter school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT, could play a major role in the November elections. And covering the Trump White House as the president continues to label the press as the enemy.

Courtesy Alex Triantafilou

Hamilton Co. GOP chairman and former judge Alex Triantafilou has applied for a vacant judgeship on the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Courtesy Stephanie Dumas

Before the May 8 primary, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who believed that former Forest Park Mayor Stephanie Summerow Dumas would win the Democratic primary for Hamilton County Commissioner.

roy rogers
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

People often tell me I have been lucky because I have been in a profession that has enabled me to do a lot of things that most folks will never have the chance to do.

And they're right. I am grateful for that.

sherrod brown
John Beagle / Flickr Creative Commons

Does the Ohio Republican Party have reason to be worried about November's statewide election?

Yes. Yes, they do. They can read the tea leaves and they are no fools.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about how polling and some fundraising numbers have Ohio Democrats feeling good about their chances of winning some state offices that have been under Republican control for many years. There are no guarantees, but the Democrats are cautiously optimistic. 

john mccain
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Here's another story that ought to convince you that John McCain is not your typical politician.

gabby giffords aftab pureval
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Democratic congressional candidate Aftab Pureval, joined by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, stood before about 125 supporters – mostly women – in a North Avondale front yard Wednesday to launch a "Women for Aftab" organization.

Courtesy Jill Schiller

Democrat Jill Schiller is out campaigning hard in Ohio's Second Congressional District, harder than anyone else has since incumbent Republican Brad Wenstrup first won the seat in 2012.

ohio voter purge
AFGE / Flickr Creative Commons

In Hamilton County – and in large urban counties all over Ohio – Republicans and Democrats have been arguing about the practice of purging voter rolls ever since Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted became Ohio's chief election officer in 2011.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

In the end, it was no contest. The team of former state representative Connie Pillich and Springfield Township trustee Gwen McFarlin have been elected as the new co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

george voinovich
United States Congress

I do miss George Voinovich.

The former Cleveland mayor, two-term governor and U.S. Senator died June 12, 2016 at the age of 79, just about a month before he was to be a delegate at the Republican National Convention held in his beloved hometown of Cleveland.

Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr. / Youngstown Air Force

Many general election contests start out with TV ads that make you feel warm and fuzzy. Bluebirds chirping in the trees. The candidate, rolling around the front yard, playing with the family dog, the grandkids or both.

But not this Ohio Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Jim Renacci.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Saturday, the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will meet at a union hall in Evendale to choose a successor (or successors) to Tim Burke, who is retiring after 24 years as county party chair. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Burke's departure and what the future of the party may look like. 

plane
Pixabay

Many of my younger colleagues in journalism – which amounts to almost all my colleagues in journalism these days – have no memory of a time before smartphones, emails, Facebook, Storify, Twitter, Reddit or even the Internet.

fc cincinnati mls
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Raise your hand if you ever, for a second, believed that FC Cincinnati really wanted to put a soccer stadium in the cramped quarters of Oakley.

OK, now raise your hand if you believed in the fairytale of sticking a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium in the middle of Newport. FC Kentucky, anyone?

sherrod brown
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Senator Sherrod Brown told WVXU today he hopes President Trump's on-again, off-again summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un takes place next month.

Brown, a Democrat running for re-election this year, says he hopes his bill to levy more sanctions on North Korea if they do not cooperate will be part of the leverage Trump can use if he sits down with the North Korean leader next month in Singapore.

john glenn howard wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

I don't hesitate to tell you that of all the countless political figures I have written about since the mid-1970s, my favorite, by far, is John H. Glenn Jr.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

Connie Pillich and Gwen McFarlin, two women with experience in elective office, are running as a "co-chair" team to take over the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

election 2018 graphic
Jim Nolan / WVXU

Northern Kentucky voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election was abysmally low, despite the presence of some significant contests in all of the counties.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about whether Ohio Democrats have a chance this year to end a long drought in statewide elections; and about Kentucky's primary election on Tuesday. 

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